I’m Hapa. I’m half Filipino, half white. But your average stranger can’t tell I’m mixed. To them, I’m just another white woman.
And man, does that ever put me in some interesting situations when I’m around other “just white” people. And on dating apps. Ugh.
With everything going on out there in the world that is so very, very distressing to me, I thought I’d put fingers to keyboard to share my observations and thoughts from the benefits-slash-drawbacks of walking a fine line between cultures.
- Allyship is not an ideology. Allyship is taking on personal risk to you and yours for the advancement of the causes of disadvantaged populations. Think in terms of geopolitics. An ally is not just another country who “likes and supports” democracy. An ally is a country who would take up arms on behalf of another country to preserve democracy. If you’re not willing to go at risk, whether it’s risking the relationship with your racist parents, risking your job by calling out microagressions against black coworkers, or anything else, that’s fine. I get it! But don’t call yourself an ally because you put a racial harmony sign in your living room window for people on the sidewalk to see.
- An example of the difference between ideology and true allyship is talking to your kids about how “all people should be treated equally” vs coaching your kid to actually physically stand with a bullied kid. Personal risk. What are you prepared to do?
- While we’re at it, white people can’t just randomly claim allyship. Allyship is bestowed upon you by the populations who are in the struggle. THEY get to determine who is an ally in THEIR cause. Each population in a struggle defines different parameters for what levels of risk allyship entails. Oh, so you’re an ally for social justice? Who says?
- You’re probably using the term “woke” wrong. Woke is not “being aware” of social justice issues. Actually, the term is a beautiful, crystal clear example of misappropration of language. The origin is more along the lines of black defense against a threatening, dominant culture – i.e., black people, stay woke to the workings of the dominant culture that threaten to strip away your rights and the safety of your children, and do not be lulled into comfort/mindlessness nor be distracted by what the dominant culture puts in front of you. Maybe others could say it better than that but what woke is NOT is someone the dominant culture being “aware” of struggle. Nope. See here and here.
- Oh and I love this: “But the very nature of language is that it shifts and changes!” Yes, of course. But now that you know the origin, how will you choose to use it going forward? That’s like white people in the South clinging to the Confederate flag because of how they choose to represent it today and conveniently ignoring its origins. Come on.
The ABSOLUTE FINAL STRAW which caused me to write this – and I’m REALLY trying to contain my rage here – is when white men on dating apps claim Native American heritage.
Really, dude? You’re Native American? 1/16, huh? Oh! A full 1/8? “Cherokee” eh? Let me ask you something: have you had your blood quantum taken, and what do you feel about being tracked by the US government in that way?
Dude, have you ever even MET or TALKED TO someone in the native population? Do not – I repeat, DO NOT – claim Native American heritage on a f’ing dating app. “What are you talking about? That’s my REAL make up! My great-great-grandfather actually WAS a Native American!” Dude, unless you are fully prepared to claim Native American heritage in ALL aspects of your life, please do not selectively use it to get laid. Lame-ass MFs. Ugh.